As mod as the many early-'60s cars adorning its booklet, Music for Cabriolets is ostensibly intended as a tribute to that timeless Cuban dance, the cha cha cha.

As mod as the many early-'60s cars adorning its booklet, Music for Cabriolets is ostensibly intended as a tribute to that timeless Cuban dance, the cha cha cha. It is altogether stranger than that, though, with a Frankie Valli-styled falsetto introduction, latter-day Louis Prima nuances, and risqué Serge Gainsbourg inflections. Ringleader Karl Zéro recorded this catchy oddity in a series of vacation spots (Acapulco, Portofino), and it shows; the frothy confections gathered here are imbued with tropical loopiness. Xavier Cugat's "Perfidia" (retitled "Inouis") places Zéro's lyrical additions over a celestial bed of strings and muted trumpets. The lascivious reading of "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons" recalls the late Vivian Stanshall (leader of the Bonzo Dog Band), known in his time for equally sordid renditions of romantic standards. With vocals in English, French, and Spanish (and possibly Esperanto)—and orchestrations from Mars—Music for Cabriolets should be wafting from Danish Modern hi-fi consolettes in backyards everywhere this summer. Distributed by Harmonia Mundi.—RBH